Do you ever look into your side view mirror and see tiny symbols that look like hieroglyphs? Do they make you wonder what they mean and why they’re there? We're here to help answer all of those questions! In this blog post, we'll be exploring the various symbols found on your vehicle's side view mirrors so that you can better understand what these icons mean. So keep reading to learn everything you need to know about these mysterious symbols!
3 types of symbols on side view mirror
Generally, there are two types of symbols that you might find on your vehicle's side view mirrors.
Blind Spot Detection
Auto-Dimming Anti-Glare Mirrors
How do I know if I have heated mirrors?
The easiest way to tell if you have heated mirrors is if you have a symbol on the side view mirror that looks like a Defrost icon. If you have a defrost icon on the mirror glass then you definitely have heated mirrors.
Of course, you can always check by waiting until a day when the outside temperature is below freezing and there is frost on the mirror. If you press the defrost switch on your console and the frost begins to melt then you can bet that you have the heated mirror option.
Alternatively, some vehicles may have an electronic blind spot monitoring symbol on their mirror. If this is the case, the vehicle manufacturer usually doesn't put multiple symbols on one side mirror to avoid driver confusion. It's usually safe to assume that if you have an electronic blind spot monitoring system like the BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) on Ford Side Mirror Glass you also have a heated mirror.
How to use heated mirrors?
To use your heated mirror you simply push the Rear Defrost button on your climate control panel for your rear windshield. When you push that button it also activates your heated mirror.
How come the heated mirror symbol doesn't light up?
You may wonder why the heated mirror icon on your side mirrors doesn't light up but actually, it's not meant to! You will know that your heated mirror is activated if the rear defrost button on your climate control panel is lit up.
How long does it take heated mirrors to work?
Heated side mirrors usually take about 3-5 minutes to fully heat up and melt any frost or snow. Similar to how your rear window defrost works.
How do I know if I have Blind Spot Detection Side View Mirrors?
There are a few ways to determine if your side view mirror has electronic blind spot detection:
Look for a symbol on the mirror itself: Many vehicles with electronic blind spot detection have a small symbol such as a Triangle, Dot or Icon with 2 vehicles next to each other on the mirror to indicate the presence of the feature.
Check the vehicle's owner's manual: The manual may list all of the features and equipment that are installed on the vehicle, including electronic blind spot detection.
Test the feature: If you are unsure whether your vehicle has electronic blind spot detection, you can try testing the feature to see if it is present. To do this, simply drive the vehicle and see if a warning light or beep sounds when another vehicle is in your blind spot.
Consult with a dealership: If you are still unsure whether your vehicle has electronic blind spot detection, you can consult with a dealership to have them confirm the presence of the feature.
It is important to note that electronic blind spot detection is not a standard feature on all vehicles, and its availability may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle.
How to tell if you have auto-dimming side mirrors
Auto-dimming side-view mirrors can be very helpful for nighttime time driving. Auto-dimming mirrors work by sensing when the headlights of another vehicle are shining directly into your mirror and possibly reflecting into your eyes while driving your car or truck.
Generally, only the driver side mirror will have the auto-dimming feature as it's more important to make sure that the driver doesn't get other vehicles headlights glare into their eyes vs a passenger seat which is usually empty.
There is not usually a single symbol on the mirrors but you can usually tell if your vehicle has auto-dimming mirrors by looking at the glass on your driver's side mirror. If the glass has a thin line around the outside about a 1/4" from the edge, such as in the image below, it's very likely that you have auto-dimming mirrors.
Of course, you can always test the mirror too by having someone shine their headlights in your side mirror at night. If you notice that the mirror darkens when they turn their lights on then you have auto-dimming mirrors
Auto-dimming mirrors are most usually found on top-trim models so you will usually find that if you have auto-dimming mirrors you are likely to have heated mirrors, as well.
How do auto-dimming mirrors work?
Auto-dimming mirrors, also known as electrochromic mirrors, are a type of mirror that automatically adjusts the level of glare reduction in order to improve visibility for the driver. These mirrors work by using an electrochromic gel that is sandwiched between two layers of glass. The gel is made up of tiny particles that are charged with electricity, and when a current is applied to the gel, the particles change the way they reflect light.
To control the level of glare reduction, the mirror has a small electronic controller that senses the brightness of the light reflecting off the back of the vehicle. When the controller detects a bright light, such as the headlights of a car behind the vehicle, it sends a current through the electrochromic gel, causing the particles to change position and reduce the amount of light that is reflected back to the driver. When the controller no longer detects a bright light, it stops sending the current, and the particles return to their original position, allowing more light to be reflected back to the driver.
Auto-dimming mirrors are a convenient and safety-enhancing feature that can help reduce eye strain and improve visibility while driving at night or in bright conditions.
Can I replace just the glass on my side mirror?
Yes. Replacing the glass on a side view mirror is usually easier than replacing the entire mirror assembly because it requires fewer steps and may be less time-consuming.
To replace the glass on a side view mirror, you will need to remove the mirror and back plate from the vehicle. This may require the use of a tool to pry the glass and back plate out of its snap-in bracket. Once the glass is removed, you can then install the new glass in its place, making sure that it is properly aligned and secured to the backing plate.
In contrast, replacing the entire mirror assembly usually involves removing exterior and interior body panels. This process may require additional tools and may be more time-consuming with a higher likelihood of breaking something, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
How much does it cost to replace side mirror glass?
The cost to replace the glass on a broken side view mirror can depend on a few factors including the year, make, and model of your vehicle and what options it had. Also, whether you replace it yourself or have a dealership do it.
Many aftermarket replacement side mirror glass kits cost less than $30 and can be installed yourself in just a couple of minutes. Conversely, a dealership may charge upwards of $200 plus labor charges. In most cases, we recommend doing it yourself as it's really quite easy.
Side view mirrors may have symbols that indicate certain features, such as heated mirrors, blind spot detection, and auto-dimming anti-glare mirrors. Heated mirrors may have a defrost icon and can be activated by pressing the rear defrost button on the climate control panel. Blind spot detection may be indicated by a symbol on the mirror, listed in the vehicle's owner's manual, or tested by driving the vehicle and seeing if a warning light or beep sounds when another vehicle is in the blind spot. Auto-dimming side mirrors have a feature that reduces glare by sensing when the headlights of another vehicle are shining directly into the mirror and reflecting into the driver's eyes. These symbols may vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle.